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FAQ > Safelog Pilot Logbook
Importing from Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet?

You probably don't really need to read this page. Just trying it is easier and faster than reading and usually just works. Go to www.SafelogWeb.com, Click "Import / Export" and then either "Automatic Importer" or "CSV importer" and give it a try. Our systems are really smart and can understand a wide variety of formats from dozens of airline scheduling and rostering systems, 3rd party eLogs, and also CSV and Excel files. We suggest that instead of reading all of this text, you first just give it a try... it just might work. Our CSV/Excel importers are now realy smart and can handle things like multi-line headers and are quite good at ignoring extra 'junk.' You are welcome try such imports even with a free demo/trial account.

Getting your log data from Excel (or any other spreadsheet, such as Google Sheets or Numbers for Mac), or from a CSV file into Safelog is usually fast and easy thanks to our built-in tools.

Does your Excel (or CSV) File come from a major third-party source?
If your Excel / Spreadsheets / CSV / TSV / Text file comes from a third party eLog, an airline, or rostering system, first try visiting SafelogWeb.com .. Import/Export and then either "Automatic Import", "Schedule/Roster Import" or any of the other built-in importers there as there's a good chance you may be in luck. We have already prepared code to import hundreds of common formats. You can even try this while in demo mode. If our systems don't recognize your particular file format, you can then use our generic CSV/Excel/Text file importer. And, if that still doesn't work, there's guidance info below to help you tweak what you have so that Safelog can read it.
If you have a homebrew or other Excel file not handled by the above ...
  • If your Excel file is relatively clean and straightforward or if you have a CSV file, Safelog will be able to find and read your data from it and you'll be in the pipeline to where you can match up the logbook fields that you have in excel to fields in Safelog. To try this, go to SafelogWeb.com ... Import/Export ... CSV/Excel/Text Importer (if you're not there already) and try it! This should work for most people.
  • If the above doesn't work, your Excel file might need a little tweaking/simplification for our importer to handle it. How to do this is discussed below.

Good news! Multi-Line headers now natively supported! since the guidance below material was written, we have since improved our CSV/Excel importer to be able to much better handle multi-line headers. What this means is that most of you reading this can ignore any info below about "unifying" headers. It now just works. Try it and see!

Tweaking Your Excel File if it can't be imported automatically ...

Here's a video to get you started. Please watch it first, but please remember that despite what's in the video we've upgraded our smart importer so you no longer need to unify multi-line headers - this is now done in Safelog's CSV/Excel import tool.

The information below basically duplicates what's in the video:

Here are the key points:

  • YOU CAN PROBABLY UPLOAD YOUR EXCEL FILE AS IS TO SAFELOG'S CSV/EXCEL IMPORTER. It has now been upgraded to handle multiple line headers and to remove most irrelevant junk and so most people NO LONGER NEED TO DO THE STEPS BELOW. You only need to follow the steps below in the unlikely case that our wizard isn't able to handle your file as-is.
  • The goal will be to get your logbook data in Excel into a very plain format where each column is exactly one field (such as "PIC" or "Date") and each row is exactly one flight.
  • To accomplish this, you MIGHT nee remove any extraneous columns, rows, or formatting (including blank columns and rows and 'headers' that span more than one column/row). However, our system has become increasingly smart and sophisticated so you might not need to do anything and can instead just skip this step and ....
  • 'Save As' to CSV format. CSV is a plain 'Comma Separated' format. Again, this is no longer necessary. You can just upload the excel file in most cases and Safelog will convert and clean it.
Do the above three steps and then try re-importing via SafelogWeb's CSV/Excel/Text file importer. The text below expands upon this.

First - what is CSV? Comma-separated Values (CSV) is a widely used file format that stores tabular data (numbers and text) as plain text. Its popularity and viability are due to the fact that a great deal of programs and applications support csv files, at least as an alternative import / export format. Moreover, the csv format allows users to glance at the file and immediately diagnose the problems with data, if any, change the CSV delimiter, quoting rules, etc. All this is possible because a CSV file is plain text and an average user or even a novice can easily understand it without any learning curve.

To import your data from excel to Safelog, you should first convert your Excel worksheet to CSV first and then import the .csv file using Safelog's CSV import tools.

There are two parts to the instructions below. In the first part we'll give step by step instructions how to use "Save As" in excel to convert from Excel to CSV. Chances are, however, that you might already know this. In the lower section, we give some tips as to how to do it right and give you insight into some pitfalls and common errors.

(General Info) How to convert Excel file to CSV


Below you will find the step-by-step instructions to export an Excel workbook to the CSV format by using Excel's Save As command.

  1. In your Excel workbook, switch to the File tab, and then click Save As. Alternatively, you can press F12 to open the same Save As dialog.
  2. In the Save as type box, choose to save your Excel file as CSV (Comma delimited).
  3. Choose the destination folder where you want to save your Excel file in the CSV format, and then click Save. After you click Save, Excel will display up to two additional dialogs. Don't worry, these are not error messages and everything is going right.
  4. The first dialog reminds you that only the active Excel spreadsheet will be saved to the CSV file format. If this is what you are looking for, click OK. In normal logbook situations, this should be ok as your logbook should be on one sheet. If your excel file only has one sheet, this dialog will not be shown.
  5. Clicking OK in the first dialog will display a second message informing you that your worksheet may contain features unsupported by the CSV encoding. This is OK, so simply click Yes.

After you've saved your CSV, close Excel entirely and then re-open it from scratch. Use the file... open dialog to open the CSV file that you just created. You should now see that your data is in a plain tabular format.

For import into Safelog..

  • make sure that the header line at the top is one line and one line only. For example, if you have a "two line header" where for example in the top section it says "Route of Flight" and below that are "To" and "From", edit the file so that there is only one header line and each column has a single descriptive title on the first row only. Good news! our importer can now fully accept and handle most multi-line headers in both CSV and Excel files so you don't need to worry about this.
  • make sure that you have not exported any "totals" lines or extraneous stuff. What you should be looking at is a very plain table of data. If your excel file had a totals line at the bottom and this was exported into the CSV file, then there's a chance that you could import this as a "flight" thus effectively doubling your flight hours. More good news! Our smart importer now automatically ignores nearly all such extra stuff and totals lines..
  • The exact text that is the column of each column header should be descriptive but there's no particular requirement. For example, if you have a column with PIC time you might call it "PIC Time". Later, when you import into Safelog you will be asked to connect columns in your CSV file to columns in Safelog.
  • Date formats: Excel has a nasty habit of hiding the real format of dates in csv and excel files from you and displaying them in your "System Default" format. What this means is that for example if you load a CSV file into excel which has a column with a European date like "14.03.2017" and you happen to load this into a US machine where the default date format is MM/DD/YY, it might display this date as 03/14/17 to you rather than how it actually is in the file. This can be a source of confusion. An easy way to check this is instead of opening the CSV file in Excel, opening it in a plain text editor like NOTEPAD. This will allow you too see the CSV file as it is without any Excel "helpfulness.

Once you save your log data into CSV format (for example, "john_smith_logbook.csv") then you can take advantage of Safelog's powerful CSV import tools to get your data in.

You may find the link below to be further helpful in the process.


If you have further questions on this topic, we'll be more than happy to answer. We want to make your transition to Safelog as easy as possible and have spent a lot of time making the best CSV import tool so it will be just so. We welcome you to join the many pilots who have successfully transitioned to Safelog, including many who came from Excel-based logbooks.

Related Issues
Importing from any of 86 third-party eLogs (Log10Pro, ForeFlight, MCC, LogbookPro, etc).
Importing from Airline / Company roster and scheduling systems: AIMS, CrewDock, Sabre, and many more.